I have had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for the last three years and do humanitarian work with the World Wide Child Relief Foundation, specifically being involved in teaching different forms of dance to the children of the very impoverished community of La Calle Real. At the end of dance class last year we had extra time so I thought it would be fun to teach a little ballet. We set up chairs for make shift bars and I dug through my bag for a little music. I did not know what to expect. As I turned around ready to teach class I saw every student standing tall, holding on to their chair, ready to learn. We began with first position, second, and so on. The mood in the room changed. I did not know what was happening, but there was peace, joy and gratitude felt with no words said. After class I went up to the dance teacher and asked what happened. He said, with tears in his eyes, “Thank you for teaching us ballet. If any of my students are able to ever make it to the city to study dance they need to know ballet. We do not have the resources out here to teach it. This class meant so much to them.”
This year I returned with a new mission: Start a ballet program in this small little community in Nicaragua. My daughter put a flyer out through her dance school and we received over 30 pairs of dance shoes. Our neighbors contributed leotards, tights, and more ballet shoes. My daughter and I put our resources together and bought a portable bar, some music, and costumes. This year our bag load of goodies was received with great appreciation. Ballet education was shared, direction was given, and a little ballet show was put on. The class couldn’t have been happier. The dance teacher and I keep in touch as we exchange curriculum about dance and especially ballet. Our goal as one dance teacher to another is to prepare these children in a small community in Nicaragua for any goal or dream they might have.